Software as a Service (SaaS) has been a game changer in many industries. Want to watch a movie? You watch Netflix. Listen to music? Open the Spotify app. Worldwide pandemic that caused office workers around the planet to work from home? Zoom came to the rescue.
Then there are the myriad other applications that are crucial to run a business. Project management software. Internal instant messaging. And the pièce de résistance to keep customer files organized: customer relationship management (CRM).
If you run a SaaS business, you're already aware of the benefits of these technologies. But what should you be looking for when choosing a CRM for your company?
There are several reasons to take a closer look at CRM software, including:
As your business grows, you need more storage capacity. SaaS CRM software provides you with it by simply upgrading your plan to the next available tier. Voilá. Not only do you have extra space for contacts and users on your team, they usually come with many other tools that makes handling a larger customer base more feasible, such as lead rotation automation, custom reporting, and phone support.
2. Shorter Sales Cycles
When you’re running a B2B business, you become pretty used to the fact that the sales cycle tends to be lower than with B2C companies. The investment is bigger. Prospects take their time doing research and comparing vendors. There are several people involved in the decision-making. A CRM can help you expedite this process by nurturing your leads. Does someone keep coming to your site and spending a significant amount of time reading about data security? Send them emails about cybersecurity tips. Did they download a lead magnet about business intelligence? Let them know about related blogs or webinars you’ve created on the subject. Doing this will help you establish yourself as an industry expert. They’ll come to trust you, and you’ll be top of mind when it’s time to make a purchase.
3. Customer Retention
The same way a CRM enables you to send lead nurturing emails, the data it gathers from your contacts can also be leveraged to keep customers happy. For example, sending them marketing emails suggesting items they’d be interested in, or reminders to stock up/renew whatever it is they get from you. And since all their data is stored in a centralized location, any time they interact with your business, you can communicate with them within context, without the need of having to ask them to explain things over and over again, place them repeatedly on hold, or transfer them from one department to another. Happy customers stay with you long-term.
4. Identify Cross-Selling/Upsell Opportunities
Since a CRM constantly gathers contacts’ data, it identifies cross-selling and/or upselling opportunities before a person would. This is automatically accomplished when taking into account all relevant factors, such as recurring challenges that one of your products would solve, or new business growth for the client that necessitates an upgrade of your services.
5. Close More Deals
When you factor in the totality of circumstances — such as lead nurturing, automatically following up with clients, extraordinary customer service, and identifying opportunities for new business, you see how CRMs lay the foundation for your business to close on more sales, as well as get new referrals from your customers.
The nature of the SaaS industry poses its own challenges. What you have to offer is extremely useful, but there isn’t an actual tangible product to sell. So you need to put in even extra effort to show to prospects why you’re the solution they’re looking for.
CRM software helps you do this by providing you all the tools you need to guide prospects down the sales funnel. You can segment your contacts so that you can send each category content that’s specifically tailored to their circumstances.
You can create drip campaigns to create brand awareness and foster engagement.You can automate tasks, such as sending quotes, follow ups, and alerting your sales team when it’s time to reach out to a prospect.
Before choosing on CRM software for your business, shop around for one that offers the following features:
Every software comes with a learning curve. However, you want to invest in a platform that once you receive adequate onboarding and training, you’re good to go. Helpful items include a knowledge base, drag-and-drop capabilities, and the ability to make modifications without any coding knowledge. Even if you have some basic code understanding, your sales and marketing team may not be as well versed on it.
Data is what will enable you to jump on opportunities as soon as they arise. When you look into CRM software, verify whether you can create custom dashboards that let you track the metrics that are important to you — and that they get updated in real time.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can significantly assist a CRM in identifying action items to improve on your marketing and sales strategies. This is because when there’s a large volume of data to sort through, it becomes impractical (if not impossible) for one of your team members to stay on top of everything. But a CRM sorts through all of it to identify insights into customers’ needs. Ans since everything's available on real-time, it gives your sales team the knowledge they need to take those deals across the finish line.
A CRM that lets you segment contacts and integrate with email creates the perfect environment to deploy lead nurturing campaigns. As previously mentioned, these are extremely useful — and necessary — to establish long-term relationships with your contacts, establish trust, and provide regular education to your contacts.
Your entire team is busy, and no one has time to manually do mundane tasks such as sending a Welcome, Thank You, or re-engagement email. A good CRM provides the ability to craft each of these elements, then automatically send them to relevant categories in your contacts list upon preset user behaviors.
Extraordinary Customer Experience
Since a CRM gathers contacts’ data and keeps it all in one centralized location, it can deploy tasks that are beneficial specifically to each individual. This can take the form of congratulatory emails, reminders, product/service suggestions based on their needs, notify of free new content (such as eBooks or white papers) that can help them solve a pain point.
Many CRM platforms offer the same core features — contact segmentation, marketing automation, and customized dashboards. However, you want to keep in mind additional factors when narrowing down your choices.
The Size Of Your Business
CRM software usually comes with a limit on how many contacts you can store within its database. When choosing either a vendor or a tier within a vendor, take into account your current requirements, as well as your short-term and long-term growth goals. You’ll want to be able to easily upgrade based on your business needs.
The Number of Users
By the same token, you’ll want to make a list of everyone within your company who will need access to the CRM. As a good starting point, you’ll want your sales and marketing teams to be aligned, so having someone designated from each of them is crucial. And since customer service is the backbone of every business, make sure you’re making space for someone from that department as well.
Check each vendor’s app marketplace to ensure that their CRM interconnects well with the rest of your tech stack — Gmail, Google Calendar, Slack, Shopify, WordPress, Salesforce, and anything else you may be using. This will help ensure that nothing is working in silos or having to manually enter data into any application.
You could probably spend months going down a CRM rabbit hole. To make the research process easier for you, below are a handful of some of the best SaaS CRM platforms:
Bluleadz is a HubSpot Elite Partner agency, so obviously, this is always at the top of our list. Their basic plan is free, so even startups can get started without having to worry about breaking the bank. The platform is user friendly, provides extensive training, and has advanced features that help you attract the right audience, such as artificial intelligence and smart content. And once a prospect becomes a customer, they can check on thes status of their projects through the customer portal feature.
Zoho CRM sends you real-time notifications whenever a contact interacts with your business, so that you can stay on top of every communication. It also enables customers to reach you any way they prefer: live chat, phone, email, and social media. In addition, it has an AI powered sales assistant to help your sales team work more efficiently.
Monday CRM has an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface that lets you customize your CRM in a way that makes sense to you. Their mobile app works well on both Android and IOS, making it a cinch for your entire team to access it from wherever they’re located, and it provides space for supporting sales materials, such as brochures and case studies.
Zendesk CRM provides lead scoring tools to help your sales team identify qualified leads. It also identifies areas within your sales and marketing efforts that need improvements, and integrates with social media and accounting software. They also offer a self-service portal, enabling your contacts to check on the status of their accounts.
Insightly automatically routes leads to the right person, and sends your team members all relevant lead information for an extraordinary customer experience. They also make data visualization a cinch by enabling you to customize sales dashboards and share them with team members. In addition, they support two-factor authentication to add an additional layer of security.
As a SaaS business, you’re aware of the many benefits that come with software as a service. Let someone else take care of your data’s storage, maintenance, and support, and take advantage of the same conveniences you offer to your customers through SaaS CRM platforms. It’ll make your life at work easier and elevate your customer experience.